Today I am launching 2 new wines for the gutsy out-the-box wine drinkers out there. So be warned: if you prefer traditional South African wines, these might not be for you.
First in line is a wine called RAW 2013, a Goudini straight Nebbiolo and second in line, a Hanepoot 2014 made from an old Stellenbosch vineyard – a 12% alcohol, dry Muscat de Alexandria.
Nebbiolo originates from North West Italia – 2 areas, Barolo and Barbaresco. In Barolo the soil is less fertile and therefore produce more structured wines than Barbaresco. There is heaps of fog (in Italian “Nebbia”) in both areas.
Rumour has it that this is where the name, Nebbiolo, comes from – meaning misty mountains. What makes Nebbiolo different to other grape varieties is that, although it has very thin skins, the skins are super tannic and produces wines with a light brick red/orange colour.
Now Nebbiolo has this massive tannin thing going on; Super tannins. People put Nebbiolo away for years before drinking it. The grapes came into the winery, we destemmed all, spontaneous fermentation took place and the wine tasted horrible. The tannins were aggressively massive. So I took the wine to a small stainless steel tank, filled it with all (grape skins included) and closed the lid for about 2 months. During this time I noticed the tannins becoming more approachable. We then pressed it into older larger French oak barrels and left the wine once more. 12 months later the tannins were still super aggressive. So I left it another year (how’s that for time from investment to return?!…) I then tasted the wine again, but this time around together with my new assistant, Julia, who had no knowledge of the history of the wine. She thought it was great, described it as bright flowers with powdery tannins. After bottling we aged it another year in bottle and now it is ready. More than 3 years later. Beautiful light structure with firm grippy (but still powdery) tannins. The label is a pencil sketch I did of the wine connected to the roots of the vine. And this is what the wine tastes like to me. Like nothing else in the winery. True to its origin.
And then to add more odd fun, another once-off production from BLANKBOTTLE – Hanepoot 2014. Made from a small, very old Helderberg vineyard; Muscat de Alexandria (the real name for Hanepoot). It was planted for its muscaty taste and was mainly used for eating and sometimes to make sweet, fortified wine. The vines are 60 years old and ripen at a very low sugar. So the wine is dry at a very low alcohol of 12%. Wine of Origin Stellenbosch, the muscaty floral nose and palate calls for some spicy dishes. Some Indian curry I would say.
And the label I did as a Linocut, the “poot” (foot) of a “haan” (male chicken). And that is where the grape got his nickname from, the loose bunches looks like the foot of a chicken.